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student from Sunnyside wins $ 10,000 scholarship for duct tape ball gown | Local




Larissa Leon, a Sunnyside student who created a colorful Folklorico floral dress from duct tape, won first prize in a national $ 10,000 scholarship competition.

Leon used 47 rolls of duct tape and spent 163 hours creating the folk-inspired dress as a tribute to his Mexican culture.


Larissa Leon, 17, poses for a portrait in her ranchero dress, a traditional Mexican dress designed for folk dancers, made entirely of duct tape on Monday, June 28, 2021, at her home in Sunnyside, Washington.

Leon said she woke up screaming on Wednesday when she saw an email in her inbox telling her she won.

Honestly, I’m very shocked because when I started the project I just did it to do it and never thought about it, Leon said. Now that I have won and received so much support from the community, I am very grateful and excited.

Leon is grateful to everyone who voted for her as a finalist in the contest.

If it hadn’t been for everyone who voted I don’t think I would have won, she said.

At first, Leon only told her parents and close friends that she was making the dress, but then the Sunnyside School District posted photos on Facebook and the media picked up the story.

I received huge support from my community and from so many people in the valley who said they loved my dress, she said.


Floral designs made from duct tape are seen on Larissa Leons’ ranchero dress, a traditional Mexican dress designed for Folklorico dancers, on Monday, June 28, 2021, at her home in Sunnyside, Wash.

Leon said winning the award gave her new confidence in herself and her artistic abilities.

I had doubts on myself so seeing that so many people like one of my designs is crazy for me because I never thought (winning) would be something that would be possible. It feels good to be reassured in my art, she said.

She plans to use the $ 10,000 for her education and move closer to her dream of becoming a dermatologist.

She will graduate from Sunnyside High School in 2022 with an Associate of Arts degree from the Running Start program at Yakima Valley Colleges. She plans to pursue medical studies after graduation and dreams of attending the University of California Los Angeles or the University of Washington.

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